Trump picks Dan Coats as national intelligence director

Dan Coats was a vocal critic of Russia and pushed the Obama administration to harshly punish Moscow for its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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Washington, Jan 8: US President-elect Donald Trump said he will nominate former Senator Dan Coats for US director of national intelligence. "I'm very confident that Senator Dan Coats is the right choice to serve as director of national intelligence," Trump said in statement on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Trump picks Dan Coats as national intelligence director

The President-elect added the former lawmaker has "clearly demonstrated the deep subject matter expertise and sound judgment required to lead our intelligence community". The announcement came amid a rift between Trump and the US intelligence community over Moscow's alleged interference in the US presidential election last year.

The US intelligence released a report on Friday, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering "an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election" in order to "undermine public faith in the US democratic process".

Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the findings that Russia has intervened in the 2016 presidential election. The Russian government has also denied the accusations.

Coats, 73, had served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and was a member of the chamber's Armed Services Committee. He was also the US ambassador to Germany under former President George W. Bush.

"If confirmed as director of national intelligence, he will provide unwavering leadership that the entire intelligence community can respect, and will spearhead my administration's ceaseless vigilance against those who seek to do us harm," Trump said.

The announcement for the top intelligence post also comes a day after Trump met chiefs of intelligence agencies -- including the current director of national intelligence James Clapper -- in New York to be briefed on alleged Russia cyber attacks against the US.

Following the meeting, Trump said the alleged hacking activities had no impact on the election results and that he did not directly acknowledge Moscow's responsibility.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that "only 'stupid' people" do not want a good relationship with Russia, adding that the US has "enough problems around the world." "When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!" he tweeted.

IANS

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